So before I even begin to tackle this sensitive subject, let me give you a little context behind the purpose of this article.
Today the federal government said the Indian media is unlikely to show restraint when reporting on alleged racism in Australia. India’s foreign ministry has called on its media to exercise restraint when reporting on recent attacks on Indians in Australia.
The call follows media reports that suggest the stabbing death of Nitin Garg in Melbourne on January 2 and Saturday’s attack on Jaspreet Singh, who suffered burns after being allegedly set alight, were racially motivated.
So there we have it, more attacks on Indian students but are they racially motivated?
Is Australia a Racist country?
I’ve written in the past about the small numbers of Aussies who appear to have a distinctive dislike for the local Aboriginal communities.
Unfortunately this appears to be a generation thing more than anything else. If you travel to any large Australian CBD, you won’t have to travel to far before you happen across members of the Aboriginal community, sometimes drinking or worst still, sniffing petrol or glue.
Aborigines that you’ll find in most city centres are not a representation of the Aboriginal people as a whole. It’s unfortunate therefore that these underprivileged folks are the ones that most city dwelling Australians will identify as being a ‘typical Aborigine’. They’re not doing much for the PR of their native people, that’s for sure.
Now back to my old home, the UK. Having lived in the UK for the first 30-odd years of my life, I think I can confidently say that I’ve acquired a reasonable level of experience living in a country which adopts a pretty sensible attitude to multiculturalism. Spending my life growing up in Bradford I found myself in one of the UK’s ‘hotspots’ for Indian and Pakistani families and in general everyone got on pretty well.
Politically though; the UK is not the most welcoming of countries. High profile political groups such as the British National Party (BNP) see too that. To give you an idea of why, I’ll give you a little background.
The BHP is a far-right political party formed as a splinter group of the National Front by John Tyndall in 1982.
At its founding, the BNP was explicitly racist. In October 1990, the BNP was described by the European Parliament’s committee on racism and xenophobia as an “openly Nazi party … whose leadership have serious criminal convictions”.
When asked in 1993 if the BNP was racist, its deputy leader Richard Edmonds said, “We are 100 per cent racist, yes”. Founder John Tyndall proclaimed that “Mein Kampf is my bible”. When Nick Griffin became chairman in 1999, the party began to change its stance with regard to racial issues. Griffin claims to have repudiated racism, instead espousing what he calls “ethno-nationalism”. He claims that his core ideology is “concern for the well-being of the English, Scottish, Welsh and Irish ethnic nations that compose the United Kingdom”.
The BNP requires that all members must be members of the “Indigenous Caucasian” racial group. The party does not regard non-white people as being British, even if they have been born in the UK and are naturalised British citizens. Instead, Griffin has stated that “non-Europeans who stay”, while protected by British law, “will be regarded as permanent guests”. Not very British is it and the scary thing is, in the last election over 20,000 Brits voted to try and get these guys into power.
It’s not very British is it?
I guess the point I’m making is this. There are countries out there in the world (Britain included) that has a significantly worse track record than Australia. To a certain extent it’s almost accepted to the point where scuffles (or worse) don’t even make it into the local papers, let alone gain worldwide attention.
I’ve been living in Australia now for over three years. Prior to moving to Australia I’d travelled to every single continent around the world and I can honestly say that I have yet to visit a country whose people are as welcoming as the Aussies.
Violence against Indian Students is shocking because it doesn’t normally happen. As it doesn’t normally happen then the stories become big ‘news’ and the media jump onto these news stories because it helps sell newspapers!
Some of the stories I’ve read recently are just plain silly though. Take this article titled “Students think twice to go to Australia” where the story centres around a nervous Indian Student called Neha.
Neha it seems has to live life disguised as ‘An Australian’. Why? To keep her safe from the racial attacks of course.
The story goes onto say:
“Neha’s mother, Soni has a reason to be scared. She agreed to get a blonde look for Neha to make her resemble an Australian. She now spends huge money to stay connected to her daughter in Melbourne by calling her almost every day. She said: “Neha over the phone told that this time, one needs to be extra cautious”
Extra cautious, blonde hair, disguises? Come on guys… these stories are just plain silly
Have both Indian and white Caucasian students, living in low cost / high crime areas become the victims of muggings in Australia? Yes!
Will the international media report that the people being questioned in relation to the recent attack on 29 year old Indian, Jaspreet Singh were all of Indian origin? Most probably not!
Is Australia a racist country? Far from it!